Her cry of soul rent the atmosphere of the press conference. She is a rape victim and compelled to give vent to her utter frustration and shock at the police investigation and double insult heaped on her and members of her family. According to the story carried in a contemporary, the girl was raped by a 26-year old neighbour in a village under Bochaganj in Dinajpur on December 02, 2016. When the family went to lodge a case with the police station at Bochaganj, the police turned it away without registering a case. Then a case was filed with the court against the alleged rapist. This time, though, the perpetrator was arrested and sent to jail.
What is outrageous is that the police kept on pressurising the family to withdraw the case and come to an out-of-court settlement. On refusal, according to the 18-year rape victim, she and members of her family, her brother in particular, have been stigmatised with the ultimate scandal possible -- incest. This was done following the family's failure to oblige the police for the last time on January 28 this year when they were asked to appear at the police station. All but her brother was asked to stay and the next day the family came to know that her brother was arrested for raping her.
The story does not end here. The December 02, 2016 rape left her pregnant. But the man against whom the rape charge was brought denied he fathered the girl child. The investigation officer, a sub-inspector, took the girl and the baby to Dhaka for DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) test in order to ascertain who the baby's father was. Reportedly, the police have obtained the DNA test result but the Investigation Officer (IO) refused to talk about it. Why? To add to this, the girl further complains that the police continue to threaten other members of her family with arrest and harassment.
In today's world where the most horrendous crime takes place, incest cannot be ruled out. But what is noticeable here from the start of the incident is that the police did not accept the case in the first place. The girl and her family were compelled to lodge a case with the court. How did the police ascertain that the baby was the result of incest? Here is a charge they have brought against a brother and a sister, which can ruin the entire family. Rape itself is a serious crime to have taken a heavy toll on the girl who completed primary school education. Now if this charge is not substantiated, who will take responsibility of the devastation of both brother and sister? The incident took place in December 2016. Now the police have to wait up to January 28, 2018 to make her brother a party to the crime. Such a charge can only be brought against someone only when the evidence is foolproof. If the DNA test report is at hand, the police can do so. But then, as report says, the IO claims the investigation is still on.
This is incredulous. If the police are yet to complete its investigation, they cannot implicate a brother for this outrageous charge. However, there is nothing complicated. The DNA report is the crucial proof. If it has been obtained by the police, they should already know who the rapist is. It seems the police are after something other than the merit of the case. In Bangladesh society, no such incident has ever been reported. If they have arrested the rape victim's brother on such a mind-boggling charge, they will have to stand by it. If not, they must be made to pay for the intrigue and foul play.
There are allegations galore against the police for victimising victims instead of perpetrators. The powerful, the moneyed and the influential can buy their service in their favour so much so that the accused and victims find themselves in reverse role when the case is produced before the court. This can happen because of lax monitoring and moral degeneration. The Bochaganj case involving two families of the minority community must be looked into for an impartial analysis of fact in order to arrive at the truth. It is not known if the family of the alleged rapist is rich and influential and that of the girl less so.
One thing is clear that in this country injustice can prevail only seldom because of wilful negligence or omission of facts by the IO. The perpetrators of crimes, rapists included, are left with opportunities to avoid rigorous punishment. Had justice prevailed on the basis of authentic reports of incidents following investigations, many of the criminals would have landed behind the bar. Convinced that crimes like rape can be skirted around or punishment avoided if the police can be managed, the sexual predators are taking more and more opportunities.
As long as society fails to create a healthy atmosphere for human growth -- physically and mentally, the gender relation will not become normal. But in the meantime, at least the country's law must be allowed to take its own course. All must be treated equal in the eye of law and this is a prerequisite for creating a balanced society.